Former Local Government and Lands minister Nai Ceesay has called on Gambian farmers to venture into poultry farming, saying "it is a viable venture".
He made the call at a one-day seminar of over 150 poultry farmers on Bio-security for poultry farms and live-bird markets.
Participants were drawn from all over the country to attend the training orgainised by the Department of Veterinary and Livestock Services and funded by Support Programme for Integrated National Action Plan for Avian and Human Influenza SPINAHI-The Gambia.
Mr Ceesay further admonished farmers to adopt the strategy of bio-security which will "help them greatly". He added that establishing a strong poultry farming and making a good profit at the end of the day are necessary to meet the needs of the farmers and the public.
"If cashew farmers are able to form an association which will help them to address some of their problems and also help them to generate income by tapping some funds from donors or government why not the poultry farmers," he said, adding that poultry farmers should do everything possible to form an association which will help them in addressing some of their burning issues. "This takes a collective approach to maintain sustainable poultry farms," he added.
For his part, the deputy permanent secretary, ministry of Agriculture, Sherifo Bojang, said he was delighted at the retreat, while thanking the Department of Veterinary Service for organising the event.
"Bringing over hundred and fifty poultry farmers together across the country is a step in the right direction," he said. "Poultry farming should be the concern of all farmers in the sense that poultry farming is another gateway of earning; therefore it is not only about cultivating crops but also about venturing into other businesses."
Mr Bojang further commended the women for wholeheartedly taking up the initiative, noting that "it is a clear indication that poultry farmers, especially women, are committed to the attainment of food security".
Also speaking at the programme, Dr Kebba Daffeh, project coordinator for SPINAP Gambia, explained briefly about the SPINAP Gambia project, saying it will yield a lot of dividends and will greatly build the capacity of the poultry farmers on Bio-security for poultry farm and live-bird markets.
Other speakers on the occasion included the deputy Mayor of KMC, Yusupha Sanyang, and Bai-Janneh, a senior Livestock Officer, said that avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, is a disease caused by the influenza virus that occurs naturally in wild bird and poultry but less commonly in pigs and human.